Saturday, August 8, 2015

Zucchini Flatbreads with Gazpacho

Summer's bounty is reaching its peak right now, so come to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market tomorrow for ripe summer produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm, pastured meats from Fair Valley Farm, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company.

At the height of our last heat wave, I made a delicious summer meal of zucchini flatbreads with chilled gazpacho. For the soup, I used Sweetwater Farm tomatoes, cucumbers  and lipstick peppers, following this New York Times recipe, which uses plenty of olive oil added slowly to the blender so that it emulsifies into a smooth juice (I was lazy and didn't strain the soup at the end, and it was still delicious).  

The zucchini flatbreads were inspired by a recipe for Turkish Kablaki Lahmacun that my sister shared from Rebecca Seal's Istanbul: Recipes from the Heart of Turkey. Zucchinis are sliced thin with a vegetable peeler and tossed with olive oil, green onions, and aleppo pepper, and then piled on flatbread dough with crumbled feta cheese. Again, I was lazy and rather than making the flatbread dough, I used some flour tortillas. And to avoid turning on the oven, I cooked the onions and zucchini on the stovetop and then finished the tortillas under the broiler of our toaster oven. It was a delicious meal that will become a summer standard.

Zucchini Flatbreads
makes four tortillas
2 small zucchini
4 green onions or 1 small onion or shallot
2 tsp aleppo pepper (or use a combination of sweet paprika and cayenne)
2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
1/2 cup crumbled feta or cotija cheese
4 flour tortillas

1. Trim the tips off the zucchini and then use a vegetable peeler to cut them into long slices lengthwise. Mix the zucchini in a bowl with 1 Tbsp olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the aleppo pepper. Trim the green onions and slice (or peel and dice the onion or shallot). 

2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the onions and cook until they become glassy. Add the zucchini and continue cooking until the zucchini is just cooked through. Remove from the heat.

3. Pile a quarter of the zucchini mixture on each of the tortillas and top with a quarter of the cheese. Cook the tortillas under the broiler of a toaster oven or regular oven until the cheese is melted and the tortillas toasted, being careful not to burn them (in the toaster oven they were each done after about four minutes). Serve at once.

Best Gazpacho
Adapted from the New York Times
About 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cored and roughly cut into chunks
1 Italian frying (cubanelle) pepper or another long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, peeled and roughly cut into chunks
1 small mild onion (white or red), peeled and roughly cut into chunks (optional)
1 clove garlic (optional)
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste, plus more for drizzling

1. Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.

2. With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy.

3. Strain the mixture through a strainer or a food mill, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Discard the solids. (The straining is optional). Transfer to a large pitcher (preferably glass) and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

4. Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. If soup is very thick, stir in a few tablespoons ice water. Serve in glasses, over ice if desired. A few drops of olive oil on top are a nice touch.

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